President Bush to Address His Torture Ban Veto on Saturday
Q Does the President realize he's going to further tarnish our image for humanity if he vetoes a ban on torture?
MS. PERINO: That's not what he's suggesting, Helen. You're talking about the Senate -- the intelligence authorization bill?
Q Isn't he supposed to veto the ban this week, or so?
MS. PERINO: Helen -- well, he is going to veto a bill, but it's not the bill in which you describe. The bill that he is going to veto is the intelligence authorization bill. We've had a statement of administration position that has been out for a long time. There are many different reasons he's going to veto it. One of the main ones is that it would apply the Army Field Manual, which is very good guidance for young soldiers who are out on the field who might capture somebody out on the battlefield, but it is not
something that should apply to a terrorist interrogation program that is run by the CIA.
Q Why? It's torture, isn't it?
MS. PERINO: It isn't -- no, we are not torturing, and that is not what the bill says.
Q Well, it would ban --
MS. PERINO: Torture is already illegal.
Q -- he is vetoing a ban on torture, isn't he?
MS. PERINO: Torture is already illegal in this country, and the President has already signed a bill reiterating that fact. The simple point of this bill is that the Army Field
Manual -- the President does not believe, nor does the intelligence community -- I'd point you to General Hayden and others who say that it should not --
Q The military certainly believes in it.
MS. PERINO: It is appropriate for the military to have the Army Field Manual as its
guidelines. But we do not believe that it should apply to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Q Why? Are they human beings? Are we humane people?
MS. PERINO: We are humane people. We have a terrorist interrogation
program that helps make sure that we keep this country safe. We do not torture.
But what I will tell you is that you will hear more about this this weekend. The
President's radio address will be on this issue.